After months of staying at home, I finally got a chance to go out.
I went to Accra yesterday along with colleagues for work-related activity. My part ended early, so instead of waiting for my colleagues, I decided to treat myself out in a restaurant at a 5-star hotel.
I wanted to do it in a very long time, but I never got the courage. I’m just too anxious. It didn’t help to remember the Friends episode where Chandler judged Rachel for eating alone.
What if someone judges me and breaks my fragile self-esteem? I was contemplating, but I was like, there’s not the way of knowing unless I try.
I arrived at the hotel, 30 minutes pass 12. It seems like the restaurant just opened. The hostess approached me and asked me a dreadful question: “The table is for how many please?”. I was shy so I told her that it’s for a table of three. After that I immediately called my friends to join me, but they eventually bailed.
A waiter assisted me to my table and it was a table for four, in the middle of the restaurant. I had to act confident, but deep inside, I wish the floor could swallow me. What have I done? Lucky for me, there’s not much guest yet. There were only two tables occupied, excluding mine.
I didn’t know what to do next, so I decided to stand up and looked at the buffet food lineup. I felt that the staff anticipating my next move. My mind just went blank. I couldn’t decide, so I seek assistance from a waiter, who was nice enough to show me around.
As I was eating, a group of men sat adjacent to my table. Then, couples came, then a large group of people followed. I had a mini panic attack.
I was just about to pity myself for eating alone when I saw a man sat opposite my direction. He also didn’t have a company. I observed him for a while. After dropping his items on the table, he took his food from the buffet and eat. After finishing his food, he paid his bill and left. I was shook. Why can that man eat alone confidently, and I can’t.
So I pull myself together and started winging it. I went back to the buffet station, took some food, and spoke to some staff. I’m slowly gaining my confidence. After finishing my food, I paid my bill and walked out of the restaurant with a full stomach.
It was life-changing for me. I have overcome one of my fears. Here’s my take-away from that my solo-dining experience:
Eating alone in a restaurant is liberating.
I left the restaurant feeling like a lady boss. I ate up to my satisfaction, didn’t care about other people’s opinion, and paid my bill. It boosted my confidence and found comfort in doing things alone.
Being alone does not equate to being lonely.
I took my time eating and savored every single bite. I got to practice speaking to strangers. I was more open to interacting with other people. I enjoyed the ambiance and admired the beauty of the restaurant layout. I also learned a lot from observing the restaurant service and the people around me. It is one of the best dining experiences I’ve had. I was satisfied and happy.
If you want to try dining in yourself, I encourage you to do these:
1. Do some research.
Learn about the restaurant’s offering, services, and their off-peak hours. These information will help you as you navigate around the restaurant.
2. Dress comfortably.
I suggest you wear something that boosts your confidence.
3. Forget what other people think.
Have you ever judged someone you saw eating alone? Probably not. The same is true with other people. Focus only on yourself. Once you start thinking about what other people think, it will spoil your dining experience.
4. Enjoy the food and what’s happening around you.
Stop stressing yourself out and just savor every moment.